LA RED TIG Week: Latinx-LGBTQ Intersectionality – Implications for Culturally Responsive Evaluation by David Garcia and Gregory Phillips II

Hola/Hello! We are Dr. David Garcia, a bilingual/bicultural Latinx public health researcher with extensive experience working with LGBTQ and Latinx communities, and Dr. Gregory Phillips II, an HIV epidemiologist with over a decade of work in culturally responsive evaluation with LGBTQ populations.

As our political climate continues to unjustly target and stigmatize many populations, we must be outspoken in our advocacy for Latinx communities – particularly those experiencing barriers to health and happiness. This is especially true about Latinx LGBTQ individuals, many of whom migrated seeking asylum due to persecution. We as evaluators must be sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ Latinx people and tailor our culturally responsive approaches to be more inclusive of this population – regardless of immigration status.

Based in the work of Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality theory posits that a person’s identities aren’t held in isolation. Someone isn’t separately Latinx and LGBTQ, but has unique experiences as a result of holding both identities simultaneously – therefore, we must consider their experience uniquely. We can’t conduct culturally responsive evaluation without accounting for all identities and how they intersect.

Today, we want to share a few lessons we’ve learned about Latinx-LGBTQ intersectionality over the course of our work, and invite you to consider how you can provide culturally responsive support and advocacy for LGBTQ Latinx individuals in your own practice.

Lessons Learned:

Image of people from Broadly website
Image Credit: https://broadlygenderphotos.vice.com/

Appropriate terminology is key. Not all members of the Latino community relate to the term Latinx; similarly, the terms gay and bisexual don’t encompass all sexual minority identities. Engagement with Latinx LGBTQ communities is necessary to ensure an evaluation uses appropriate terminology. When applying an intersectional lens, this becomes even more important.

Remember – it’s not appropriate to lump all LGBTQ Latinx experiences together. Transgender people have many markedly different experiences than cisgender LGBQ Latinx individuals (who also have different experiences from each other!), and that diversity of experience needs to be valued.

We should never assume that the Latinx community is homogeneous. Many differences contribute to the diversity of Latinx populations: US-born versus foreign-born, country of origin, immigration status, language, and more – all impact how we engage with systems and programs, and should fundamentally inform our evaluation approach as well.

Finally, remember that culturally responsive evaluation necessitates substantive community engagement. Dr. Phillips’ work with Latinx LGBTQ populations in Chicago would not be possible without collaborations with organizations like CALOR and PRCC.

Rad Resources:

We hope that after reading this, you’re excited to learn more about how to advocate for LGBTQ Latinx communities. Here are a few places to start:

  1. Your local – or regional or national – LGBTQ or Latinx community organization. This work requires meaningful community engagement, and there’s no better place to start than with supporting the incredible work such organizations are already doing.
  2. The LGBT and La RED Get in touch with your fellow evaluators!
  3. Us! We’d love to talk more. Our e-mails are glp2@northwestern.edu (Gregory) and deg2142@tc.columbia.edu (David).

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators

1 thought on “LA RED TIG Week: Latinx-LGBTQ Intersectionality – Implications for Culturally Responsive Evaluation by David Garcia and Gregory Phillips II”

  1. Dear Dr. David Garcia and Dr. Gregory Phillips II,

    I am a student in my first course on program evaluation and found your post very informing. The whole idea of evaluation and the responsibilities of the evaluators seem overwhelming to me at the moment. To design a culturally responsive evaluation with LGBTQ Latinx populations when so much diversity exists within that population, and in addition taking into account the complexities of their intersecting identities seems like a tremendous undertaking.

    Although it is unlikely I will ever be a formal program evaluator, much of what you have mentioned I believe is important not only for evaluators but for all staff dealing with Latinx LGBTQ populations or any population, especially those that have been unfairly stigmatized. I am currently a teacher, and thus am responsible for evaluating students, much of what applies in program evaluation applies to the classroom and assessment/evaluation practices. I am in a school with a significant Latinx population there are three main ideas from your article that I hope to incorporate into my teachings and potentially into any evaluations I perform.

    The first is the terminology you use and in particular the inclusive nature of the term ‘Latinx’, although I understand that not all members agree with the terminology. This is very simple but when describing where someone is from or where they descended from, many English nouns do not have feminine or masculine versions, Latino and Latina being one of the exceptions. To account for all students and how they identify I want to incorporate this term into my interactions with students and learn from them if this is not a term they relate to.

    The second is the idea of intersectionality theory you presented from Kimberle Crenshaw. This is very interesting and I think our tendency as humans is to group populations neatly in our brains, but it is so much more complex. As Crenshaw (1989, p.139) details race and gender are not “mutually exclusive categories of experience and analysis” and thus as you described an individual has “unique experiences as a result of holding both identities simultaneously – therefore, we must consider their experience uniquely.” To further complicate the situation because of different immigration reasons and paths, experiences can vary significant within this population.

    Lastly, you have stressed the importance of reaching out and working with LGBTQ or Latinx organizations, which I will extend to other organizations working with other marginalized populations. It is in working with these advocating organizations that we can best understand these students to provide appropriate assessment and teachings.

    I commend both of you for taking the time to post. It is likely I will never act as an official program evaluator but the importance of understanding a little more about this vulnerable population and strategies, which I can apply to other marginalized populations, are very applicable to my current position. Collaboration with the local community and organizations, implementing appropriate terminology and taking into account intersectionality theory is a step that I believe will better inform my practices.
    Thank You,
    Sarah

    Reference
    Crenshaw, Kimberle () “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum: Vol. 1989: Iss. 1, Article 8. Available at: http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclf/vol1989/iss1/8

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